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18 Feb 2008 : Column 190W—continued

18 Feb 2008 : Column 191W

Electoral Administration Act 2006

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what timetable he has set for ending double-reporting of donations by hon. Members; and for what reasons the implementation of sections 59(3) and 59(4) of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 has been delayed. [186073]

Mr. Straw: This provision cannot be brought into force until the Electoral Commission informs me that it is content that the information it would receive from the House Authorities would be sufficiently complete. That is, the information received must be the same as that which the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 currently requires Members who have received donations to provide to the Electoral Commission.

I understand that discussions between the Electoral Commission and the House Authorities are continuing with a view to enabling the Electoral Commission to confirm that this provision can be commenced.

Electoral Commission

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what contribution his Department plans to make to the Electoral Commission's research on the political levy and political funds. [186075]

Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice has no plans to contribute to any such research.

Electoral Role Databases

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which public authorities, other than local authorities, police forces and the Electoral Commission, have access to the full versions of electoral role databases. [184634]

Mr. Wills: The Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (S.I.2001/341), and the Representation of the People (Scotland) Regulations 2001 (S.I.2001/497), as amended, set out the regulatory regime governing access to the full electoral register in Great Britain. Under part 6 of each set of regulations, relevant parts of the full register may be supplied by an electoral registration officer, to certain persons and bodies, for use for specific purposes, including crime prevention and enforcement of criminal law. Part 6 also allows the register to be supplied to persons whose entitlement arises from another enactment.

In addition to local authorities, police forces, the Electoral Commission and Government Departments, the other public bodies specified as being entitled to be supplied with copies of relevant parts of, or the whole of, the full register under the regulations cited above are:

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Other private persons and organisations that have a right to be supplied with copies of the full electoral register are:


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases of bullying have been reported in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last 12 months. [182837]

Maria Eagle: In the period January 2007 to December 2007 the following number of formal complaints on the grounds of bullying were received:

Number of formal complaints

Ex-Department of Constitutional Affairs


National Offender Management Service


Office of Criminal Justice Reform




The public sector Prison Service does not hold the information centrally in the format requested. This could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


The Ministry applies three policies that address the issue of bullying; grievance, conduct, and equality and diversity.

The Grievance Policy contains a specific sub-section on dealing with complaints about bullying that breach equality and diversity requirements. All such complaints are referred to Human Resources for advice, and will almost always result in the appointment of an independent officer to investigate. Grievances will be dealt with promptly and in confidence.

The Conduct Policy sets out the standard of behaviour that is expected of all staff. Discriminatory or unacceptable behaviour such as bullying, harassment, victimisation or unwanted verbal and non-verbal contact is not tolerated. Staff are expected to behave in an acceptable manner and be responsible for their actions. Their responsibilities are to:

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Bullying is characterised in the policy using the ACAS definition:

The Equality and Diversity Policy is based on the principle of establishing practices to eradicate unacceptable behaviour such as harassment and bullying, and stresses the stance taken by the Ministry of zero tolerance.

In recent years all staff were trained in raising awareness of equality and diversity issues, and Workplace Mediation was introduced across the Department. This offered an informal way of resolving disputes between people who work together, with the assistance of trained mediators.

Prison Service:

The public sector Prison Service does not tolerate bullying in the workplace. Formal complaints of staff bullying are investigated in accordance with Prison Service Order (PSO) 1300 ‘Investigations’, which contains detailed guidance on the conduct of all types of investigations; and PSO 8460 ‘Conduct and Discipline’, which sets out the procedures for dealing with staff misconduct.

PSO 8460 identifies bullying as behaviour which constitutes gross misconduct (i.e. misconduct which is so serious as to make any further relationship and trust between the Service and the member of staff concerned impossible) and, depending on the circumstances of the case, may result in dismissal from the Service.

Responsibility for commissioning investigations into staff complaints and for deciding whether or not to instigate formal disciplinary proceedings has been devolved to a local level.

Central co-ordination of formal investigations within the public sector Prison Service is managed through the Professional Standards Unit's Investigation Support Section (ISS). Whenever a formal investigation is established, ISS must be informed, as soon as possible, so that the investigation can be registered on the ISS database. This database contains details of the types and locations of formal investigations, their status and outcomes. Records of informal investigations are not held centrally, this information is maintained at a local level by governing governors and heads of group.

Bullying is not separately identified as a type of investigation on the ISS database. Instead, complaints of bullying could be investigated as allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour between staff’ or ‘harassment’.

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ISS records show that at least 56 formal disciplinary investigations into allegations of inappropriate behaviour and harassment were commissioned during the 12 month period to 31 January 2008. A breakdown of these is shown in the following table. However, ISS cannot confirm with any certainty whether or not the original complaint was related to staff bullying. In order to confirm how many cases of bullying were reported, we would need to contact each of our headquarters groups and our 127 public sector Prison Service establishments and ask them to check their local records. This would incur disproportionate cost.

Formal investigations into alleged inappropriate behaviour and/or harassment( 1)
Number of investigations

February 2007


March 2007


April 2007


May 2007


June 2007


July 2007


August 2007


September 2007


October 2007


November 2007


December 2007


January 2008




(1) Data has been sourced from the ISS database and was correct as at 5 February 2008. It does not include simple inquiries or informal investigations.

Judges: Ethnic Groups

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) female and (b) ethnic minority judges were appointed in 2007; and if he will make a statement. [184997]

Mr. Straw: The judicial database shows that 159 salaried and fee-paid judges were appointed to the courts in the calendar year 2007. Of these 48 (30.2 per cent.) were women. 107 of the appointees answered the question about their ethnicity and of these nine (8.4 per cent.) described their ethnicity as other than white.

In the same period, 266 people were appointed to salaried or fee-paid office in tribunals, of whom 94 (35.3 per cent.) were women. 174 of the appointees answered the question about their ethnicity and of these 24 (13.8 per cent.) described their ethnicity as other than white.

Knutsford Crown Court

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases were heard by Knutsford Crown court in each of the last five years. [185757]

Maria Eagle: The number of cases either committed or sent for trial, committed for sentence or appealing against a magistrates court's decision which were disposed of at Knutsford Crown court during the last five years are listed in the following table.

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Trials Sentences Appeals





















Limitation Act 1980

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make an assessment of the implications of the recent House of Lords ruling in A v. Hoare for the provisions of the Limitation Act 1980. [186109]

Bridget Prentice: The Government are carefully considering the recent ruling by the House of Lords in the cases of A v. Hoare, C(FC) v. Middlesbrough council, X(FC) and another (FC) v. London borough of Wandsworth, H(FC) v. Suffolk county council and Young (FC) v. Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds). This is in the context of our proposed consultation on the text of a draft Bill to implement the Law Commission’s recommendations for the reform of the Limitation Act 1980 as a whole.

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Macclesfield Magistrates Court

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases are due to be heard by Macclesfield magistrates court; and how long on average the waiting period was before a case was heard by the court in the latest period for which figures are available. [185785]

Maria Eagle: As at 7 February 2008, there are 58 adult trials and two youth trials outstanding at Macclesfield magistrates court. As a result of the implementation of the Criminal Justice Simple Speedy Summary (CJSSS) programme in Macclesfield, there is not a backlog of cases. This information has been supplied directly from the court.

The following table sets out estimates for the average time taken between the recorded date on which a defendant commits an offence to the date on which the defendant’s case is first considered by a magistrates court for 2007. Information is not available for Macclesfield magistrates court separately. However, estimates have been provided for the Vale Royal Clerkship which includes combined information for Macclesfield magistrates court and Northwich magistrates court.

The figures are from the Time Intervals Survey (TIS) and are based on defendants (adults and youths) in all criminal cases that were proceeded against in the magistrates courts.

Average time taken between date of offence to first listing for all defendants in completed criminal cases in magistrates courts, information for Vale Royal Clerkship and England and Wales, 2007
Estimated average number of days from offence to first listing in magistrates court Margin of error (+/- days) Sample size (number of defendants)

Vale Royal Clerkship




England and Wales




1. Results are based on proceedings in one sample week in March and September. The Time Intervals Survey (TIS) is a sample survey that produces estimates of the average time taken between stages of proceedings for defendants in completed criminal cases in magistrates courts. More information on TIS is available on the Ministry of Justice website.
2. The margin of error is a measure of the precision of a result based on a sample survey. The true value is likely to fall within the range of the sample result +/- the margin of error.
3. ‘First listing’ refers to the first listed hearing of the case in the magistrates court.
4. Information is provided for the Vale Royal Clerkship which covers Macclesfield and Northwich magistrates courts. It is not possible to give estimates for 2007 for Macclesfield magistrates court separately.
Time Intervals Survey (TIS), Ministry of Justice.

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